[Ads-l] intrusive "of" intrudes further

Neal Whitman nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET
Fri Nov 6 03:58:56 UTC 2015


And this morning, from my 15yo son:

"It just wasn't very good of an apple."

Neal

> On Nov 5, 2015, at 9:50 PM, Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at MST.EDU> wrote:
> 
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at MST.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: intrusive "of" intrudes further
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> The "of" in "various of scientists" seems explainable as a blend: "various =
> scientists" + "a number of scientists" (and perhaps "a lot of scientists").
> Gerald Cohen
> ________________________________________
> Jonathan Lighter [wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM],Thursday, November 05, 2015 6:18 =
> PM, wrote:
> How about this, attributed to a presidential candidate whose name you would
> recognize in a twinkling?
> "And various of scientists have said, 'well, you know there were alien
> beings that came down and they have special knowledge and that's how.' You
> know, it doesn't require an alien being when God is with you."
> (I mean, how about the "of"?)
> JL
>> On Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 7:03 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: intrusive "of" intrudes further
>> 
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> =3D
> ------
>> 
>> And here's the CNN clip from TV News Archive:
>> 
>> 
>> https://archive.org/details/CNNW_20150611_180000_CNN_Newsroom_With_Brooke=
> =3D
> _Baldwin#start/2670/end/2680
>> 
>>> On Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 10:53 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>>> 
>>> Ah, here we go:
>>> 
>>> http://www.tout.com/u/FeliciaKrieg
>>> (2nd video down: "More from press conference" -- relevant bit starts
>>> at about 0:35)
>>> 
>>> I hear it as: "I can't tell you how large of the area is that we've
>>> searched thus far."
>>> 
>>> So CNN just left out the crucial "of".
>>> 
>>>> On Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 10:35 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> FWIW, the CNN transcript has:
>>>> 
>>>> http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1506/11/cnr.06.html
>>>> "You know, the situation is still fluid. And at this point, I can't
>>>> tell you how large the area is that we've searched thus far."
>>>> (Jennifer Fleishman, spokeswoman, New York State Police Department)
>>>> 
>>>> I haven't found video of the news conference, but it should show up
>>>> soon on https://archive.org/tv.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> On Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 9:17 AM, Neal Whitman <nwhitman at ameritech.net=
> =3D
>> 
>> wrote:
>>>>> 
>>>>> I don't think I explained clearly what I meant when I wrote, "This i=
> =3D
> s
>> the first time
>>>>> in my recollection that I've seen it intrude into constructions wher=
> =3D
> e
>> the 'how ADJ'
>>>>> is predicative rather than attributive."
>>>>> 
>>>>> Usually, I see these constructions in situations like "I don't know
>> how big (of) a
>>>>> boat we'll need," where the AdjP "how big (of)" modifies "boat" (and
>> appears in
>>>>> the strange AdjP-Det-N syntax that these constructions have). It's a
>> little clearer
>>>>> if we leave the WH-phrase in situ:
>>>>> 
>>>>>        I don't know [we need [how big (of) a boat]].
>>>>> 
>>>>> But in JL's example, if we leave the WH-phrase in situ, and undo the
>>>>> relative-clause extraposition, we get
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>>        I cannot tell you [[the area we're searching in] is [how
>> large]].
>>>>> 
>>>>> The AdjP is the complement of "is", not a modifier of "the area we'r=
> =3D
> e
>> searching in".
>>>>> 
>>>>> I'm inclined to call this a production error, a blend of the
>> following:
>>>>> 
>>>>>        I cannot tell you [how large (of) an area we're searching in=
> =3D
> ].
>>>>>        I cannot tell you [how large the area is that we're searchin=
> =3D
> g
>> in.]
>>>>> 
>>>>>> On 6/11/2015 3:11 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> On Jun 11, 2015, at 2:58 PM, Neal Whitman wrote:
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> This is the first time in my recollection that I've seen it intrud=
> =3D
> e
>> =3D3D
>>>>>> into constructions where the "how ADJ" is predicative rather than =
> =3D
> =3D3D
>>>>>> attributive.
>>>>>> I don't find it particularly odd.  Googling "I/You don't know how
>> good =3D3D
>>>>>> of an idea" or "...how big of a relief" or whatever produces scads
>> of =3D3D
>>>>>> hits that seem totally natural to me. Ditto, say, this very sequenc=
> =3D
> e
>> as =3D3D
>>>>>> it appears in "Beyond that I don't know how large of an area you
>> have to =3D3D
>>>>>> scour or what".  Or is there a condition that would rule out the
>> example =3D3D
>>>>>> below while allowing the ones above?  Is it the definite ("the
>> area")?  =3D3D
>>>>>> Maybe I'm missing something. =3D3D20
>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> On 6/11/2015 2:47 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> New York State Police spokeswoman:
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> "I cannot tell you how large of the area is we're searching in."
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> 
> 
> 
> --=3D20
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> 
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> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org=
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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